2017’s Golden Coolthulhu Awards – Best Books & Film

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It’s time for the first annual Golden Coolthulhu Awards for best books and films experienced during the previous year. To qualify for this list, the book or film must have been produced in 2017. So, while there were lots of great things we watched and read, few made the cut.

Congratulations to all winners. Almost anyone who is a regular visitor to this site knows that we are a demanding bunch that aren’t exactly easy to please.

Clicking on the individual placard leads you to the review itself where applicable.


Best Graphic Novel Published in 2017

Best Graphic Novel

Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld, Alex Puvilland (Artist)Hilary Sycamore (Colorist): Nobody’s ever really explained the Spill. Was it an angelic visitation? A nanotech accident? A porthole opening from another world? Whatever it was, no one’s allowed in the Spill Zone these days except government scientists and hazmat teams. But a few intrepid explorers know how to sneak through the patrols and steer clear of the dangers inside the Zone. Addison Merrick is one such explorer, dedicated to finding out what happened that night, and to unraveling the events that took her parents and left her little sister mute and disconnected from the world.

Best Science Fiction Novel Published in 2017

Kings of This World by Peter Bailey: Matthew is just trying to hold the wreckage of his life together after his girlfriend left him for another woman. A chance to review a West End play seems like a lucky break, until it turns into an X-rated nightmare. The next day London tears itself apart, people make love in the streets and kill each other over a dirty sandwich. Overnight everything changes, the city is very quiet, people smile and nod, but what they smile and nod at is only visible to them. The only other normal person is Jeremy, sarcastic, intelligent and frequently wrong. Together they form an uneasy alliance that lasts until cone shaped aliens land and begin harvesting people like wheat…


Best Kids Novel Published in 2017

Best Kids Novel

The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky: Ambassador, you are go for launch in T- minus 5…4…3…2….  Miranda Regent can’t believe she was just chosen as one of six kids from around the world to train for the first ever mission to Mars. But as soon as the official announcement is made, she begins receiving anonymous threatening messages…and when the training base is attacked, it looks like Miranda is the intended target. Now the entire mission—and everyone’s lives—are at risk. And Miranda may be the only one who can save them.

Best Horror Novel Published in 2017


Stone Cold Bastards by Jake Bible: Only a rag-tag team of gargoyles stands between humanity and extinction. Hell has released its ravening horde of demons, leaving most of humanity a puke-spewing, head-spinning mess of possession. Humanity’s last hope? A team of misfit gargoyles—including a cigar chomping, hard-ass grotesque—come alive and ready for battle during the End of Days. They guard the last cathedral-turned-sanctuary atop a bald knoll in the North Carolina mountains. Gargoyle protection grudgingly extends to any human who can make it inside the Sanctuary, but the power of the stonecutter blood magic, which protects the sanctuary, may not be enough when a rogue grotesque and his badly-wounded ward arrive.

All the hounds of hell are on their heels. The last Sanctuary is about to fall.

Best YA Sci-Fi Novel Published in 2017

Young Adult Award

What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy: Rosa and Eddie are among hundreds of teens applying to NASA’s mysterious Multi-World Agency. After rounds of crazy-competitive testing they are appointed to Team 3, along with an alternate, just in case Eddie screws up (as everyone expects he will). What they don’t expect is that aliens will arrive from another dimension, and look just like us. And no one could even imagine that Team 3 would be the only hope of saving our world from their Earth-destroying plans. The teens steal the spacecraft (it would be great if they knew how to fly it) and head to Earth2, where the aliens’ world and people are just like ours. With a few notable exceptions.

There, the teens will find more than their alternate selves: they’ll face existential questions and high-stakes adventure, with comedy that’s out of this world.

Best Anthology Published in 2017Best Anthology

Twice Upon An Apocalypse – Crystal Lake Publishing: These aren’t your mother’s fairy tales. Throughout history parents have told their children stories to help them sleep, to keep them entertained. But we’re pretty sure none of those parents had this in mind. These are the fairy tales that will give you and your children nightmares. From the darkest depths of Grimm and Anderson come the immortal mash-ups with the creations of HP Lovecraft.

Best Genre-Related Nonfiction Published in 2017

Nonfiction Award

Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix: Take a tour through the horror paperback novels of the 1970s and ’80s . . . if you dare. Page through dozens and dozens of amazing book covers featuring well-dressed skeletons, evil dolls, and knife-wielding killer crabs! Read shocking plot summaries that invoke devil worship, satanic children, and haunted real estate! Horror author and vintage paperback book collector Grady Hendrix offers killer commentary and witty insight on these trashy thrillers that tried so hard to be the next Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby. It’s an affectionate, nostalgic, and unflinchingly funny celebration of the horror fiction boom of two iconic decades, complete with story summaries and artist and author profiles. You’ll find familiar authors, like V. C. Andrews and R. L. Stine, and many more who’ve faded into obscurity. Plus recommendations for which of these forgotten treasures are well worth your reading time and which should stay buried.

Best Indie Horror Movie Produced in 2017

Award for Indie Horror Movie

Circus Kane from Director Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray: A reclusive circus master invites a group of social media stars to his house of haunts. Anyone who can make it out before being scared into submission will earn $250,000 – but the stars soon learn they are not only competing for money, but also fighting for their lives.

Best Wide Release Horror Movie Produced in 2017

Wide Release Horror Award

Get Out from Director Jordan Peele: It’s time for a young African American to meet with his white girlfriend’s parents for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly and polite ambience will give way to a nightmare.

2017 was not a great year for science fiction movies. We tend to exclude Superhero movies because they’re more fantasy than science fiction. There were some great indie science fiction ones we watched this year, but we couldn’t count them for this list because they were originally produced in 2016 or earlier.

So when we were going through, trying to decide who to award the best science fiction title to, it quickly became obvious that there would be no winner. Instead, it seemed like they were all competing for the title of worst science fiction movie produced in 2017.

And ultimately, that’s what we decided to go with. 

Worst Science Fiction Movie Produced in 2017

Award for Worst Science Fiction Movie

Flatliners by Niels Arden Opley: Five medical students, obsessed by what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods, each triggers a near-death experience – giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife.

14 thoughts on “2017’s Golden Coolthulhu Awards – Best Books & Film

  1. I saw Spill Zone somewhere the other day and it looked interesting. I’m going to have to look into it more since you liked it so much! I also have Stone Cold Bastards on my maybe-TBR. And I had never heard of Kings of This World but it sounds super weird and interesting? I’m def going to check that out!

    1. Kings of this World is a self-published (if I remember right) by Peter Bailey. The man does some *amazing* work, and I keep waiting to hear he’s been picked up by a major publisher. He deserves it. His stuff is outright better than a lot of the mass market stuff currently produced.

      Get Spill Zone when you have a chance, just looking at some of your books, I think you’ll really enjoy it 🙂

  2. Thanks for all the work you put into these reviews! I bought Kindle versions of Stone Cold Bastards, Twice Upon an Apocalypse and… of course!… Paperbacks from Hell! I mean, who wouldn’t buy that one? Kind of a no-brainer!

      1. That’s definitely a good sign! I’m guessing it’s full of far-out religious symbolism – how could a novel about The End of Days by a guy named Jake Bible not be, right? Anyway, I tend to work in a lot of religious and spiritual themes into my work. It’s such a rich treasure trove of concepts, experiences and weird, weird tales. So, I’m hoping I’ll find a kindred spirit in this writer’s work.

          1. Sure, sometimes it can be really subtle. I tend to put a lot of biblical references into my erotic horror as a sort of perverse joke. (In my more “mainstream” horror it’s still there, but often with a more serious eye to exploring the themes raised by the images.) But I know most people won’t get it. I think, so far, the only folks who have mentioned the allusions are people who used to be part of evangelical Christianity – like me. But despite having rejected those beliefs, I still find the imagery deeply evocative and stimulating.

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